Organizational Communication

Foundations, Challenges, and Misunderstandings (Fifth Edition)
Daniel P. Modaff and Jennifer A. Butler
©2022, 332 pages

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Organizational Communication

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    Organizational Communication: Foundations, Challenges, and Misunderstandings examines how communication is central to organizational life and the complexities and complications that arise as people attempt to coordinate their organizational activities. The text underscores the importance of the relationships we establish with the people with whom we work and how a better understanding of organizational communication theory and application can help us anticipate and manage misunderstandings in the workplace.

    In Part One, students learn about classical and modern management theories, systems theory, and frameworks for understanding organizational communication, including organizational culture and critical theory.

    In Part Two, the text covers topics traditionally covered in organizational communication textbooks through the lens of misunderstandings. Stories from organizational members highlight challenges and opportunities related to communicating in the organization. Realistic recruitment, socialization, the relationship between supervisors and subordinates, peer and team relationships, and leadership communication are addressed.

    The fifth edition features new interview data; broader coverage of diversity; expanded discussions of emotions at work; and examinations of workplace bullying, blended relationships, and technology as it relates to gender and age.

    Offering students a balanced mix of theoretical and practical information, Organizational Communication is an exemplary textbook for introductory organizational communication courses.

    Daniel P. Modaff (Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin) is an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. His research focuses on organizational communication, and his work has been published in Management Communication Quarterly, Journal of Organizational Ethnography, and Journal of Values-Based Leadership, among others.
    Jennifer A. Butler (Ph.D., Ohio University) is an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. Her research has been featured in Management Communication Quarterly, Qualitative Communication Research, and Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, among other publications.
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    "I like the content and structure. … I teach this course as an online course so it is important to me to have a textbook with depth so that students can learn by reading the material. I find this book appropriate for our senior-level students."
    Marsha L. Bayless, Department Chair and Professor, Department of Business Communication and Legal Studies, Nelson Rusche College of Business, Stephen F. Austin State University

    "Organizational Communication provides an excellent framework for understanding and thinking about the complex nature of organizations. Each chapter is well-organized and provides a variety of materials to help students understand the theoretical and practical components of organizational communication."
    Lisa Joniak Athearn, Lecturer, Dial Center for Written and Oral Communication, University of Florida

    "This book is extremely accessible to students. … I do like the focus on communicative misunderstandings as it’s laid out in the opening chapter. I think this model is appealing and accessible to students. And I like that this is the thematic approach of the overall book and threaded throughout every chapter. ... I really like this book’s use of culture as variable and culture as root metaphor (I like the labels themselves). This choice of wording is very easy for students to understand. ... [The book is] highly relevant to students and to our work experiences and builds upon multiple disciplinary traditions in communication (with a main focus of org comm, of course). It explains difficult theoretical concepts in accessible ways, particularly through the misunderstandings lens. It highlights the diversity of thinking and that things aren’t always black/white in the world of work."
    Suzy D'Enbeau, Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator, School of Communication Studies, Kent State University

    "[The book acknowledges] the importance of the people we work with – often we stay on a job not because we like it but because we like the people, and this idea from a communication perspective resonates with students and instructors."
    Jeannette Kindred, Professor of Communication, School of Communicate, Media, and Theatre Arts, Eastern Michigan University

    "[The] combination of applied and theoretical (e.g., chapters on classical theory and peer/co-worker communication) will give students an academic understanding of org comm, but also allow themselves to see themselves within the field, making the learning more personal. [There's also a] focus on situations students will find themselves in within the workplace. This helps make the learning more applicable and personal, which should help with both retention and long terms skills."
    Lisa V. Chewning, Associate Professor and Program Chair, Corporate Communication, Penn State Abington